Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27, NIV)
What does it mean to be a “spotless bride”?
In Matthew 12:35-47, Jesus encouraged living in a state of watchfulness for His return. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. A wise follower of Jesus will live his or her life in such a way that at no time will the Lord’s return catch them in embarrassing, compromising, or even non-optimal situations. As His return draws ever nearer, our challenge is to keep our garments clean and be ready when He comes for His spotless bride.
Too often Christians defend our worldly longings in the attempt to justify our carnal passions and unsurrendered areas of our lives. We excuse the spots and stains on our wedding garment.
- “We enjoy dancing so we go to a night club.”
- “The Bible doesn’t say we can’t have any alcohol, so I drink socially.”
- “I can share my faith by tattooing verses up both arms and down both legs.”
- “Vaping isn’t bad – it’s just vapor.”
- “I’m not bitter, I am just voicing my opinion.”
- “I don’t beat my wife; I just demonstrate my leadership in the home.”
- “We’re having a bikini party this weekend – ya’ll come on over.”
- “This R-rated movie has some foul language, but the plot is good.”
On and on we go excusing our personal desires and passions that inexplicably mirror the world’s trends and habits. Then when someone challenges us, we compare what we do to the worst situations.
- “At least I don’t get drunk when I drink.”
- “I could be smoking crack.”
- “I just socially dance – it’s not like I’m pole-dancing.”
- “Tattoos aren’t bad – it’s not like I’m a gang-banger.”
- “Okay, I may be a little bitter, but she deserves it.”
- “I’m not gossiping, I’m simply sharing prayer requests.”
- “My wife should know better than to challenge my authority.”
- “Hey, I may look at my friend’s hot wife in her bikini, but at least I’m not cheating with her.”
- “Okay, the movie may be bad, but at least I’m not watching porn.”
We excuse our faults with: “It could be a lot worse.” Instead of asking, What’s wrong with it? why not ask, What’s right with it? And the “spotless bride” stands before the Bridegroom in a tattered, blemished gown.
Stop Excusing / Justifying Sin
When did the worst scenario become the standard to which we compare our lives? When did the precipice of sin become our cozy home? What is it that makes us push the envelope of morality or live on the edge of an immoral cliff instead of staying as far from it as possible? What happened to living so close to God that we avoid even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22)? We forget that sin’s deception can ensnare us quicker than we realize. We can be under its power and control without even knowing we have been captured. That’s the intent of deception.
The call to sinfulness is much easier than the walk of holiness. And yet, as a part of God’s family, we are to display the family resemblance. We should look and act like our Father. He calls us to, Be holy because I am holy (1 Peter 1:16). He warns us, Come out from them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). Instead of blending into the world, we are to, let your light shine before others (Matthew 5:16). Rather than being part of the crowd, we are to stand out from the crowd. Instead of fitting in, we should grow to where we are completely out of place in worldly settings.
Christ wants and deserves to have a glorious church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Spotless bride. Not even a blemish! That means hating a garment spotted by the flesh (Jude 1:23). The implied word picture is of a pure white robe that has no stains on it. No coffee spills, no ketchup smudges, no greasy French-fry hand smears, no specks of lint, no wrinkles – no impurities whatsoever. Our lives should reflect such a pure, unblemished, holy garment so we sparkle in a dark and dying world. That is how we let our light shine.
So, the next time you find yourself headed to one of the world’s venues or engaging in a worldly behavior, check yourself. Question why you are doing what you’re doing. Then compare your explanations to the pure white, unspotted garment God desires His followers to wear. How does it measure up? How would you feel if Christ returned while you were in the middle of your desired activity?